Online Educational Support
With schools across the country closed in the wake of COVID-19, increased pressure has fallen on parents and carers to support children’s at-home learning. Here, Eleanor Dix outlines five simple maths games that are not only fun, but will improve numeracy skills too.
As we all grapple with the implications of COVID-19 on daily life, and education, it can be tempting for teachers to provide parents and carers with reams of homework in the quest to continue children’s learning beyond the classroom. But, when it comes to maths, is this the best approach?
According to a report from the Open University, one in five parents with children aged 6-16 completely avoid their children’s maths homework because they’re scared of numeracy (1). For the many parents and carers who lack confidence in maths or suffer from maths anxiety, maths homework can cause stress and have long-lasting consequences for both parent and child alike.
At what is already a stressful and uncertain time, we want children and families to experience the wonder and fun in maths, not stress or anxiety. So, whether it’s creating a toy shop to recognise amounts of money or becoming a ‘Tally champion’, here are five simple maths games for children aged 6+ that can be enjoyed by families at home, as well as improve numerical confidence and skills.
1. Toy shop
The objective: To recognise amounts of money and find the correct coins to make those amounts through your own home toy shop!
What you need: You will need a collection of 1p, 2p, 5p, 10p, 20p, 50p, £1, and £2 coins. Make sure you have several of each. You will also need a pencil and some paper to write price tags and a collection of toys or other objects from around the house.
How to play: Parents and carers should start the game as player 1 and arrange the toys on a table or on the floor. For each toy, write a price tag - the prices can be whole pounds (£1, £2) or whole 5 pences (20p, 35p). Give Player 2 some coins to use and ask them to choose which toy they would like to buy. Ask them to read the chosen price tag and find the correct change from the money they have in order to buy the toy. You could then swap roles so that player 2 becomes the shop assistant!
2. Tally champion
The objective: To practise making tally charts and pictograms to keep track of data as you roll the dice and create beautiful charts together!
What you need: It is useful to have two dice – one each if there are two of you – but you could share one dice if there are more of you. If you don’t have a dice, write the numbers 1–6 on small pieces of paper then choose a number at random. You will need a sheet of paper to make a tally chart with three columns labelled ‘winner’, ‘tally’ and ‘number’. It needs additional rows to show who might win: i.e Player 1, Player 2, draw etc. You will also need another sheet of paper, some coloured pencils and a ruler.
How to play: Players will roll their dice and the highest number wins that round! Add one win in that player’s tally column. If players’ dice show the same number it’s a draw, so add a mark to the ‘draw’ column. Roll the dice again and keep marking down the winners. Remember that the fifth and tenth tally marks in each row run diagonally through the last four marks. The first player to reach ten is crowned the tally champion! You can then get creative and make a colourful pictogram of the game results, with one circle representing one win.
3. Police and thieves
The objective: To practise using positional language, such as quarter turn and half turn, clockwise and anticlockwise while trying to catch a thief on the loose!
What you need: Draw a four-by-four grid on a sheet of A4 paper. You will also need two small figurines or counters: one for the police and one for the thief.
How to play: Decide who will be the police and who will be the thief and then place the characters at opposite corners of the grid. The lines are roads and the spaces between are buildings. Stick to the roads by always staying on the lines! The thief can move a quarter, half or three-quarter turn clockwise or anticlockwise, or one space forward. The police can make the same moves or take two steps forward. The police move first and each player says their move aloud, for example “one step forward!” The goal for the police is to catch the thief and the goal for the thief is to not get caught. If the police catch the thief: the police win. If the thief isn’t caught after ten moves each: the thief wins. Once a player wins, play again but swap roles.
4. More or less
The objective: To estimate the size and capacity of various containers in this fast and fun guessing game!
What you need: You will need a measuring jug marked with a scale in millilitres (ml). Any 1–2 litre jug is fine. You’ll also need five containers of various sizes. You can use any container smaller than the jug: egg cups, mugs and glasses, bowls, small vases, water bottles, empty juice cartons. It would also be good to have a bucket handy for the used water, so that it can then be used in the garden.
How to play: Fill the measuring jug slowly with one litre (= 1,000 ml) of water. Together, read out each measurement the water passes on the jugs scale: “100 millilitres, 200 millilitres ...” and pour the water into the bucket. Player 1 chooses one of the containers and says how much water they think it can hold: “I think the cup’s capacity is 200 millilitres”. Player 2 says whether they think the capacity is more or less: “I think the cup’s capacity is less than 200 millilitres”. Then it’s time to find out who’s closest! Fill the container with water, then pour all the water into the empty measuring jug and read the actual capacity from the scale. If Player 2 was correct, they win a point. Otherwise, Player 1 wins a point. If Player 1 guessed the exact capacity then – WOW – they win two points! Take it in turns to choose an object and guess the capacity until you have used all five containers. The player with the most points is the winner. You can tidy up together and drink some of the water if the game has made you thirsty.
5. Counting kings and queens
The objective: To count in 2s, 3s, 5s and 10s and be crowned the counting king or queen!
What you need: Four counting cards made by cutting four squares of paper and numbering them 2, 3, 5 and 10. You will also need paper, a pen and a dice. If you don’t have a dice, write numbers on small pieces of paper and choose one at random to select a number. You could also find a majestic hat or tiara as a counting crown!
How to play: Mix up the counting cards, face down on the table. Roll the dice twice to make a target number - for example, 3 then 5 gives a target of 35. Choose a counting card at random to find out whether you will be counting in 2s, 3s, 5s or 10s. Players now take it in turns to count up to the target number. For example, if the counting card shows 3, Player 1 says “3”, Player 2 says “6” and so on. The first player to reach the target number or higher wins one crown: 27, 30, 33, 36 – “I win!”. Write down the score whenever someone wins a crown.
It’s then on to the next round where a new player rolls a target number, chooses a counting card and starts the counting. The first player to win the crown five times is the counting king or queen and can wear the crown or tiara for the rest of the day!
School Diversity Week: Home Edition
With 6 weeks to go until School Diversity Week 2020 (22-26 June), our Home Edition is ready for both primary and secondary! We understand that the last few months have been difficult for everyone and we hope the fun and celebratory nature of the week lifts the spirits of your entire school community.
To help you run School Diversity Week at home this year, we’re offering:
- Rainbow Clothes Day
Go to Home Edition: Primary
Go to Home Edition: Secondary
Coronavirus: how to build resilience and ease tensions
We hope you’ve been enjoying our series of kindness activities.
Helping your learners be kind to their mind is important during these uncertain times. These new activities will help to develop resilience, ease household tensions and build empathy. The activities are suitable for primary and secondary learners (aged 7 to 18), with differentiated ideas where needed. All resources are available on downloadable documents which can be shared with parents or students themselves and link to engaging videos, creative ideas and real-life stories. Here’s a taster of some of the new activities (there are five to pick from).
Messages of kindness – there has been an outpouring of kindness during this crisis. Consider the power of kind messages and get creative by writing your own.
Living well with kindness – learn about the importance of active listening skills. Being empathetic will help learners ease household tensions during lockdown.
Stories of resilience – being resilient means being able to adapt to these changes. Using real-life stories learners will consider how we can become resilient and help our communities to be resilient too.
What does home learning look like in Gloucestershire’s schools?
Here are some examples of what home learning provision looks like in some of the county’s schools.
This is not intended as a record of provision, but merely a brief overview, with some illustrative examples, so that schools can see what others are doing. Leaders will have chosen their approaches to suit the needs of the pupils at their school but this may not necessarily be the right approach for other schools. Provision may change over the coming weeks, particularly if school closures continue for a long time.
What Gloucestershire schools are doing
Gotherington Primary School
Pupils sent home with an exercise book and provided with a weekly timetable and a home learning pack, consisting of Word documents outlining each day’s learning activities and any associated resources and web links.
Packs emailed weekly to parents and also uploaded on the school website https://www.gotherington.gloucs.sch.uk/page.php?id=11100
Video messages sent out via email and Twitter from the headteacher and Hero, the school dog.
Example: Gotherington Home Learning Pack (Y5) (ZIP, 7 MB)
For more examples go to Gloucestershire Home Learning resources
National Literacy Trust
How to keep your children reading during school closures
In these unprecedented times, it’s never been more important to establish a culture of reading at home as a family. Fiona Evans, our own Head of Schools' Programmes, explores some of the ways families can support their child’s reading at home.
With education institutions closed across the UK, we wanted to let you know that LifeSkills created with Barclays, the free employability programme, is here to help - starting with our dedicated support hubs for educators, parents and young people
If you are looking for activities for young people to complete at home, our student hub has many interactive tools, films and activities to encourage independent study.
Our parent support hub is also full of information; by reading our parent blogs and a new advice page specific to current circumstances, they too will be able to support their children with LifeSkills resources.
Access a range of lesson plans, toolkits and quick-fire activities for use with children who still need to attend school, as well as resources suitable for virtual delivery, through our educator hub.
We’ve included a selection of content below that could be useful, whether you are busy planning or still going into work throughout the Easter holidays. To explore over 100 hours of free resources sign up here
Help students to manage wellbeing with activities from our adaptable toolkit
Student wellbeing might need greater attention in the upcoming months. Work through the ice breaker activities together in a virtual learning environment; set the case studies as independent reading; or use the whole toolkit with students still in school and college to ensure wellbeing remains a priority for young people.
Young Enterprise has always focused on the skills development of young people aged 4 to 24. Having considered the best way that we can support you right now we have created a free toolkit for teachers which provides a broad range of ready-to-go activities and materials that are easily used for home learning. We felt that these would be the best way of supporting the delivery of a broad and balanced curriculum in a home learning environment.
To accompany the teacher toolkit we have also developed a toolkit for parents – providing guidance on how certain activities and resources could be used by them in the home to enrich learning.
Using our experience and knowledge of the ways in which soldiers gain confidence, we have developed a set of online educational resources that help to develop your pupils’ confidence-building skills. These home learning resources will equip your students with the mindset to overcome mental and physical challenges, grow their self-confidence and build vital skills that will last a lifetime.
Our home learning resources are packed with ideas about how your pupils can get out of their comfort zone and encourages them to think about how they can build their confidence. Our free, online resources explore multiple topics from mindfulness and having a growth mindset, to celebrating success and turning criticism into constructive feedback, all of which can build and develop their self-confidence.
School Wellbeing Activity Programme
We have created a wellbeing journal filled with challenges and activities to keep children happy, healthy and active whilst at home.
The journal is based on the four pillars of SWAP; how I eat, how I sleep, how I move, how I feel, and is aimed at children, but is a great resource for teachers and parents too and can support remote learning.
Set your class one of the daily challenges and they can record the results in their journal. From inventing their favourite smoothie, recording the quality of their sleep, to building a home gym and expressing how they are feeling, the journal encourages children to look after their overall wellbeing.
There are two versions available for download on our website, one for print and an interactive version at www.nuffieldhealth.com/kidswellbeing We hope you find this resource useful and a fun way for your children to stay happy, healthy and active. Please feel free to share the link with children, parents and teachers.
SEAL have great lessons to help children understand and deal with the coronavirus situation. They were developed in Australia because of the bush fires but they are SO relevant to what our children are going through. Use them if you are in school teaching children or with some adaptations use them for ZOOM or Microsoft Teams online lessons. Help children deal with changes they are experiencing from Coronavirus
Five steps to help with children's wellbeing
In a society where children are feeling more under pressure than ever, helping children with their emotional wellbeing is a concern for many parents and teachers alike. But how can we help?
Clinical psychologist and special guest for BBC Teach's The Growth Mindset and Wellbeing Lesson, Dr Hazel Harrison, has put together five easy steps to promote children's wellbeing - as well as our own. Five ways to keep your children occupied (and learning!) at home
On line educational resources
Teaching from home: advice for teachers and parents In these difficult and unusual times, whether you are at school or at home, BBC Teach is here to help and support you with our huge range of educational resources. Use them yourself or tell your students' parents about them. They will be grateful for some fun, home-learning activities and resources.
BBC Teach's video resources cover every subject from art and design to science. There are hundreds of short, educational films to explore covering relevant curriculum topics.
Find out more
BBC Bitesize - Activities and guides for 11 to 14-year-olds
BBC Bitesize has hundreds of fun and engaging curriculum-linked guides and activities which students can use independently. Just choose your nation of study, pick a subject and you will see a list of key curriculum topics.
Want to know more?
BBC Teach - Secondary Live Lessons
BBC Teach Live Lessons are curriculum-linked video lessons, complete with downloadable resources, covering topics in English, maths and science. They can be watched at any time. You may spot some well-known BBC faces!
BBC Teach - Video resources for 14 to 16-year-olds
BBC Teach's video resources cover every subject from art and design to science. There are hundreds of short, educational films covering relevant curriculum topics to explore.
Find out more
BBC Teach - Secondary Live Lessons
BBC Teach Live Lessons are curriculum-linked video lessons, complete with downloadable resources, covering topics in core subjects but also careers. They can be watched at any time. You may spot some well-known BBC faces!
New support site and Twitter channel for parents and carers
For parents and carers looking after children during the school closures, please do share our free parent support site and @pearsonparents Twitter account.
Here they can find free secondary activities, tools and advice to support learning at home – including sample homeschool planners, access to free eBooks at secondary, and much more.
Free Access to Widgit Online
With more schools closing across the world to help fight the spread of Coronavirus (COVID-19) we wanted to do something to help parents, teachers and carers who use symbols to support their children and young people.
To make sure symbol users have access to the systems and resources they need, we would like to offer free and unrestricted access to Widgit Online and it’s ready-made materials for 30 days. Use Code: WIDGIT30
Trial Users: Click here to enter the code and enable 30 days free access to Widgit Online and the ready-made resources.
Our education specialists will be providing regular tips and advice on how you can use Widgit Online from home both as a parent and teacher.
1. Supporting Routine
Some young people may become anxious without the structure and routine of school; use a Widgit Online Timetables and Planners template to create a schedule or simple Now and Next board.
Symbol-supported information and display posters
These easy-to-follow symbol-supported information sheets and posters can be used to start conversations with children about hand washing and personal hygiene.
Stop the Spread
The best prevention against the Coronavirus is still washing your hands. Click on the link to view the PowerPoint
Your school can help stop germs spreading by using our range of fun lesson plans on hand washing and respiratory hygiene.
KS1: Horrid Hands
KS1: Super Sneezes
KS2: Hand Hygiene
KS2: Respiratory Hygiene
KS3: Hand Hygiene
KS3: Respiratory Hygiene
These resources are on the e-Bug website and training is available through GHLL. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org for more details
A wonderful week of welling activities for students at home
Croesyceilog School in South Wales had a wellbeing week during school closure and set their students daily wellbeing activities to complete at home. Here you will find the activities and some fabulous collages of the students' work. Click here to view the activities.
Croesyceiliog Secondary School in Torfaen are using this 90 minute lesson with all pupils when they first touch base again as schools re-open. Thank you so much for sharing. As well as the lesson for pupils there are two presentations for staff : one on how they can support pupil wellbeing on the return to school and one on how they can look after their own wellbeing. Click here to view the activities.